Getting a divorce in Texas can be difficult for all parties involved, and communication styles need to change from the styles that partners used while they were married. Using effective communication styles for the situation both during the divorce and after the divorce is finalized can protect children and adults from some of the more hurtful and damaging aspects of divorce.
How communication should change during a divorce
People who are in the midst of a divorce should keep conversations with their ex brief and to the point. While communication while you’re in a marriage often is more intimate and features longer conversations, it’s important to keep conversations brief to avoid rising to confrontation and repeating well-worn arguments when you’re no longer together and trying to work out practical agreements. Once everything is settled, you might find that it’s possible to create a casual friendship, but it’s important to establish boundaries first.
Goals of communication during marriage versus during and after a divorce
When you’re married to another person, the goals of communication are often to share information, connect, and feel understood. When you start the divorce process and continue to work with your ex to raise children, the goal is to exchange information, but you’re no longer trying to work out past hurts and grievances. Instead, interactions should have more of a business-like tone.
Kids as messengers after divorce is a big no-no
When trying to communicate with an ex-spouse, some parents default to using their children as the go-between, either because of convenience or to avoid the discomforts involved with talking to the ex themselves. This is a recipe for disaster for the children because they might feel like they have to choose a side. Parents use their children as the go-between to voice their own frustrations, communicate about everyday things, and spy and report on the other parent. All of these purposes put a child in an unfair situation that can affect them.
Effective communication can protect everyone involved from even more hurt throughout the divorce and while co-parenting. One technique that people can use when trying to decide if something will be positive to say is to remember BIFF, which stands for Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm.